“It’s been an amazing experience,” said Saknakosnak Prum (or ‘Nak’ as he is better known) when we asked him about his time at WMG. “The most important thing for me is that everything I’ve done is grounded in the real world of business. I’ve not just learned a lot, but discovered how to apply that theory to real situations and use it to create and deliver practical IT solutions for business.”
When Nak came to study at WMG in 2016, he already had more than three years experience of that ‘real world’. After gaining his first degree in Business Information Systems, he worked for Hilti Asia IT Services in Malaysia as a SAP Business Application Consultant. “It was interesting work and I really enjoyed it,” he explained. “I was supporting global processes and SAP users across the world, but it was always my intention to study for a higher degree as I knew that it would help me progress in my future career.
“WMG’s e-Business Management course was exactly what I was looking for,” he continued. “Digitalization is a huge area in Cambodia – and globally too. It’s the future. I’m really interested in using technology to transform businesses, and every element of the course matched my professional aspirations.”
Nak was awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship, funded by the UK government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office and partner organisations, to study at Warwick. This global awards programme supports outstanding individuals with leadership potential from around the world to study postgraduate courses at universities in the UK.
“There were more than 50 other Chevening Scholars at Warwick,” said Nak. “It was a great community. “I really enjoyed meeting and talking with other ambitious students from around the world. We learned a lot from each other.”
As for his course itself, Nak was keen to highlight the diverse nature of the modules. “They brought together all of the important elements of today’s e-business. From digital marketing and finance to customer relationship management and supply chain, these are things you need to know if you’re going to make a real contribution to the future success of an organisation.
“The simulations were excellent, giving us the chance to work as a group to develop solutions to particular issues and present our findings. This blended the academic and commercial worlds in a very powerful way and meant that I wasn’t just learning new things, but exploring how to bring them alive in actual business situations.”
Nak also mentioned the industry experts who visited WMG and talked to student groups about their experiences. “Once again, it brought that ‘real world’ element to the programme. We were able to ask questions and gain valuable insights that prepared us for life beyond university.”
Supporting local communities
One thing that comes through particularly strongly about Nak’s time with us was his volunteering work. Although his course schedule was demanding, he found time to work with Warwick Volunteers in the local community, helping at Easter events, popup Cafés and to create the Canley community garden. He also contributed to CoderDojo events, helping young people develop programming skills, as well as supporting the Wheels for All Santa Ride.
“I had some marvellous experiences and it was wonderful to be able to do something positive for local communities. I learned a lot about life, about people and about myself – and I would like to thank Warwick Volunteers and Warwick Technology Volunteers for giving me this opportunity.”
Nak’s volunteering work was recognised when he received the prestigious Chevening Volunteering Award at a ceremony at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London in 2017.
When we spoke to Nak, he was three months away from finishing his MSc programme. So how does he see his future? “I aim to go back to Cambodia to put my e-business skills to work, helping companies compete successfully in a fast-changing commercial landscape. But I would also like to help educate people about the possibilities of online commerce. Cambodia is at a very early stage of development, and I would like to play my part in driving its growth and the future of the country.
“What I gained at WMG had given me the perfect preparation for all of this. With the knowledge and skills I now have, I feel empowered to make change happen.”